the moonlit ORBIT of self-discovery
september 2023 - february 2024
In this one-of-a-kind course, we will delve into and immerse in the vidyā of the Nityā Devīs.
The Nityā Devīs correspond to the tithis or moon phases, each being a particular aspect of time and space. They symbolize the circular, ever-changing nature of time and space against the backdrop of the constancy of the moon that is always "full," represented by Śakti in her highest form.
The Nityā Devīs are also known as Nitya Kalā Devīs because each represents a kalā or phase of time and space.
There are 15 Nityās each in the waxing and waning moon cycle. Those of the waxing cycle are known as the Lalitā Nityās, where each is a specific aspect in time and space of Lalitā Mahātripurasundarī, the supreme goddess of creation. She herself is the 16 Nityā, called Mahānityā, and remains invisible as the principle greater than the sum of its parts.
The 15 Nityās of the waning moon cycle are specific aspects in time and space of Kālī, the great goddess of dissolution. Kālī is the Mahānityā of the waning moon cycle and remains invisible as the force that is greater than the sum of her aspects.
The Nityās are seen as the combination of the three guṇas and the five mahābhūtas that give rise to 15 variations in time and space, which are most readily observed as the phases of the moon. Although the moon itself never changes and is always full, we observe its changes in the night sky with the passage of time, and the relationship between the sun, earth, and moon in space. The sequence of the Nityās, when observed in relation to the body, breath, and mind provides deep insights into the nature of unfolding reality.
Śiva and Śakti are the two supreme aspects of creation. Śiva is the ground of being that contains or holds Śakti, the power of creation and dissolution. He is formless; she is form. He is without attributes; she is all attributes. When Śiva and Śakti are in complete communion there is no movement toward creation and "nothingness" prevails. When they separate, creation begins as both interpenetrate each other to give rise to the tattvas (principles), where "everythingness" prevails. Poetically speaking, when they are nonseparate, Aham (I) and Idam (That) are one. When Śiva looks at Śakti, he sees himself. When they separate, Śiva looks at Śakti and sees the world.
The waxing moon cycle is one of "nothingness" blossoming into "everythingness." The new moon represents the dissolution of the separation between Aham and Idam. Here, Śakti is fully absorbed in Śiva The full moon signifies the completion of Devī’s separation from Śiva, where she has turned away from him to become fully absorbed as the objects of the universe.
In the waning moon cycle, starting on the full moon, she begins to withdraw and turn back to Śiva, becoming progressively absorbed in his essence. On the new moon, she is so fully dissolved in him that she is totally turned away from creation. In her absorption in Śiva, it is as if her eyes are closed and she revels in him; in her absorption in the world, her eyes are open, and she celebrates her seeming separation from Śiva. In this fashion, the cycle of creation continues, pulsing between absorption at both ends of the spectrum of time and space. Devī’s expression as unmeṣa-nimeṣa (the closing and opening of her eyes) is the grand display of the moon phases as the Nityā Devīs, which is why they are deeply revered and worshiped. In fact, Devī is known as the one who is understood through the lunar phases that teach us everything we need to know about ourselves and the world around us, leading us to vidyā or wisdom.
There are several ways to honor, worship, and practice with these great goddesses. One can view the entire waxing and waning cycles of the moon from the perspective of Lalitā OR Kālī. For example, you can begin with Kāmeśvarī (the 1st Lalitā Nityā) on the new moon and end with Citrā (the 15th Lalitā Nityā) on the full moon. Thereafter, you start on the full moon with Citrā to end at Kāmeśvarī on the new moon.
Similarly, you can start on the full moon with Kālī (the 1st Kālī Nityā - note that this Nityā has the same name as Kālī) to end at Mitā on the new moon and go in the opposite direction during the waxing moon cycle. In this method, there is a continuity of worship and contemplation of a single entity - Lalitā or Kālī.
Another method of practice is to honor Lalitā Nityās on the corresponding tithis during the waxing moon cycle and the Kālī Nityās during the waning moon cycle.
Either way, the method of practice is sequential, with a focus on one aspect per tithi of the great goddess(es). Over time, there is a gradual integration of the individual aspects of the Nityās into the state of being that is timeless.
There's Another, More Potent Way...
...to work with the Nityās and that is through the principle of integration.
Integration in this case means to simultaneously worship and imbibe the teachings of the "light" and the "dark" Nityās on any given tithi. Take a look at the image below:
Even though only the light half of the moon is visible in the sky, the other half is still relevant and influences our body-mind. The bright half is symbolized by Tvaritā (Lalitā) and the dark by Ugraprabhā (Kālī). The divisions of light and dark exist only on a relative plane since Reality moves as a whole. In other words, Lalitā and Kālī are one and the same.
Accordingly, a more powerful sādhana is to integrate the teachings of the light and dark, where both aspects of a particular tithi are held simultaneously and not sequentially as it is ordinarily taught and understood.
Simultaneously holding contradictory viewpoints or seemingly opposing concepts incites our brains to create new synapses, engaging its many parts that are involved in integration.
This kind of sādhana forces us out of dualistic concepts that keep us embroiled in suffering and cycles of good/bad, joy/sorrow, etc.
Śrī Sūktam and Ṣoḍaśa Lakṣmī (16 Lakṣmīs)
In a brilliant composition, Śrī Vidyāraṇyā brings together the sādhana of the Lalitā Nityā Devīs, the 16 verses of the Śrī Sūktam, the yoginīs of the Ṣoḍaśadala Padma (the 16-petaled lotus of the Śrī Cakra), the particular aspect of Reality represented by them and the 16 aspects of Mahālakṣmī. Here, the Nityā Devīs are the digits of time and space representing a specific aspect of Reality, the yoginīs are the means of attainment of that aspect, and the Lakṣmīs are the attainments.
In this immersive experience, we will explore the Nityā Devīs (both Lalitā and Kālī) through this holistic and integrative approach where we will encounter the Resplendent Mahālakṣmī in 16 of her magnificent forms!
Here, we will learn the Sampuṭita Śrī Sūktam, which is also a composition attributed to Śrī Vidyāraṇyā, where each verse of the Śrī Sūktam is "fenced" by specific verses from the Devī Mahātmyam. This has been further modified by Kavitha to include the Nityā Devī mantras as part of the fence, which results in a scintillating, meditative and absorptive experience.
The phrase Resplendent Rhythm refers to the resplendence of Mahālakṣmī that becomes available to us when we align with the rhythm of the moon tithis!
Resplendent Rhythm Course Outline
1. 16 weeks of teachings
2. An in-person retreat
3. 4 weeks of integration
Total time: 5 months
The total time commitment per day is at least 1-2 hours.
This course will not be offered again and will not be available as a self-study option in 2024.
5 Monthly payments
About the instructor
Kavitha Chinnaiyan, MD
Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan is a Cardiologist and Professor of Medicine and is the award-winning author of The Heart of Wellness (Sfaim Press, 2020), Shakti Rising (Non-duality Press, October 2017), Glorious Alchemy: Living the Lalitā Sahasranāma (New Sarum Press, 2020) and Fractals of Reality: Living the Śrīcakra (Sfaim Press, 2022). She is the creator of The Renegade Method™, a powerful tool for self-inquiry.